So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands…
Ask questions that have no answers. Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say your main crop is the forest you did not plant and won’t live to harvest.
Say the leaves are harvested when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees
every thousand years…
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts…
As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

“Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” from The Country of Marriage, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. 1973. Also published by Counterpoint Press in The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, 1999; The Mad Farmer Poems, 2008; New Collected Poems, 2012.

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to blog it, but WE’VE MOVED IN!!! In fact, our first 24 hours living Net Zero was Easter Day. This may not be so significant for you out there, but, for us, it offers what we’re always seeking: new ways to practice resurrection.

March 28, 2015 Demolition Completed!

Exactly a year ago, we finished our weeklong demolition of a lifeless and destructive way of living. We cleared this lot of a careless, absentee owner and a rental from hell with rat shit in the walls, asbestos overhead, no insulation no where and a global emissions nightmare…and began to make way for a regenerated way. We were determined to be more just and responsive caretakers than the stewards before us, but our plans for resurrection were only on paper at that point, only in our dreams.

September 28, 2015—-41st Anniversary Dinner!

Six months after demolition, we were ready to go. We ate cheesecake in the dining room of our dreams on our Wedding Anniversary, celebrating 41 years together and the next steps on our sacred adventure.

 

To demonstrate a new way of living, we chose a Passive House certified design and began a 6 month work of love for God’s Earth with our friends at Cellar Ridge Construction to implement the 5 Principles of Passive House Construction:

  1. Seamless super-insulation:

We layered 12 inches of rigid insulation under our concrete floor. We built two 2X4 stud walls side by side with three inches between them. We packed that 10-inch space full of fiberglass insulation for our inner wall.   After wrapping the house with Henry’s Blueskin, we put 3 more inches of water-repellent Roxul (stone wool) insulation outside of that for a full 13-inch insulated wall. We blew the attic full of fiberglass. This made R-60 under us, R-54 beside us and R-70 over our heads!!!

  1. Airtight building envelope:

 Before insulation, we wrapped the entire house with an air and watertight barrier: black plastic beneath the slab and sticky-backed Henry’s Blueskin up the walls and atop the ceiling. We passed the blower door test with flying colors, registering a “leak factor” of .51 Air Changes per hour (well insulated new construction tests 4 or 5 ACH!).

  1. High-performance windows and doors:

We completed the airtight envelope with triple-glazed Intus windows from Lithuania, with R-values of nearly R-8 and U-values of .08 (U=rate of transfer of non-solar heat through the window—-ordinary double pane windows test 1.7, singles test 5). They’re so tight you can shout at a person in the yard through a window or door and they can’t hear a word you’re saying!!!

  1. Heat Recovery Ventilation

We installed the Zehnder 350 heat recovery ventilation system which keeps our air-tight home from becoming a moldy slime ball. With tubes running throughout the house for exhausting stale air and returning fresh air, the HRV completely trades, every 2 hours, 100% of indoor air for outdoor air, while exchanging 90% of the heat as the 2 airstreams pass.

 

  1. Sourcing solar energy for heating & minimizing it for cooling.

We positioned our house so most of the south-facing wall is glass, with a southern roof overhang designed to shade the windows in summer and allow maximum sun through the glass in winter.   Plus we’ve added a 16 panel SunPower solar array, (5.2 K), which will generate 6,800 KWh annually, enough to power the house and charge our electric car for 12,000 miles.

There are a couple of missing pieces to what I’ve just outlined for you. One is I’ve made no mention of appliances. I promise to do this in a blogpost soon, but today, suffice it to say we’ve chosen the most energy efficient appliances we can afford, including an induction range and a water heater and clothes dryer powered by heat pumps, relatively new inventions on the market. The dryer is vented into the house space, which, along with body heat and heat from showers and cooking (etc.) help heat the house.

Wendell Berry says we should do something every day that won’t compute: “Love the Lord, love the world, work for nothing, take all you have and be poor. Love someone who doesn’t deserve it…” We are encouraged to invest in the Millennium by planting sequoias… to be joyful even though we’ve considered the facts. Few of our neighbors understand what we are doing or why we would do this and why our house is so small. There’s an almost endless parade of cars circling our block to sneak a peek. We motion them in and give tours daily. Our utility, McMinnville Water and Light, has been great! But utilities all over the world are having to learn something that doesn’t, on the face of it, add up: how we can stay in business while encouraging conservation and selling less and less power?   We’re all being called to a way of life without fossil energy. That really doesn’t make sense in our world as it is!

It’s Been One Year!!!!!——Easter Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Monday, exactly a year since Demolition, we were moved in (well mostly). Exactly a year since we cleared the space for a new way of living on this Planet, we began our lives again, determined every day to invest in the Millennium and a way of life whose seeds we did not plant, whose harvest we will not live to reap.

And make no mistake, we don’t even live at the same address as the former House of Crap. It faced on 10th Street and ours? We get to begin a new life altogether, facing Cedar. As the Demolition concluded, Erin suggested we go to the city and request the new address of 928 NW Cedar Street. She saw that the even 928 was totally in sync with the odd numbers on the other side. Of course you’ve probably figured out where she was going with this, right? We were married on 9-28 and the construction of our way of life together really started then. We’re doing everything we know, to live a less predictable life, out of the mainstream. You can too. So come visit us here and join us to live out our common resurrection. But don’t go looking for us at that old address!

 

 

John-Pitney-Main-blue

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